Rising levels of homophobia in sub-Saharan Africa
In a report issued today, Amnesty International warns that homophobia in sub-Saharan Africa is reaching dangerous levels. According to the human rights group, “homosexual acts” are being increasingly criminalized across the continent, with governments seeking to impose severe penalties or broaden the scope of existing laws, including by introducing the death penalty. Click here for the Amnesty International press release and here for the report: Making Love a Crime: Criminalization of same-sex conduct in sub-Saharan Africa.
A senior official in Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party led by Welshman Ncube says gays and lesbians should not be tolerated in the country. The politician warns that homosexuals should relocate to South Africa, where men sleep with other men to please the devil.
By Thabo Kunene, Bulawayo
Zimbabwe’s opposition party, the MDC, seems to have a knee-jerk – negative – reaction to everything Zanu-PF. But when it comes to the issue of homosexuality, their opposition is not as vehement.
In an interview in Bulawayo, an MDC official who is a candidate in this year’s parliamentary elections and wishes to remain anonymous, said that Zimbabwe will never allow same-sex marriage, regardless of which party wins the upcoming election scheduled for later this year.
“African governments should unite in preserving our cultures. Africa is not for the devil and we will not allow homosexuality, even if it means losing Western aid,” he said.
The politician explained that if he had his way, anyone practising homosexuality would face a life sentence. He said that he was against the killing of gays and lesbians, though noted that their actions should not be promoted and those found displaying their affection for each other in public should be severely punished. Punishing them, he added, does not mean mob justice.
Homosexuality not new
When it's brought to his attention that even in the olden days there were gays and lesbians among the black communities in the rural areas, the official said that if such people existed, they practised their evil ways in secrecy and did not promote it as whites are doing.
The MDC official went on to encourage Zimbabweans to expose politicians and government officials who are gays and lesbians.
“I want to appeal to my brothers and sisters to expose known gays and lesbians in our midst. We will never tolerate this nonsense called ‘same-sex relationships’,” he said.
The politician said that he would not hide his gay-bashing statements if voted into Parliament this year.
“Once I win the elections, I will make public statements supporting Mugabe’s anti-gay stance,” he said.
The MDC spokesman, Nhlanhla Dube, refused to comment on the controversial issue.